Current Cleon: Trump’s Ancient Echoes

Pick up any journal of mass political psychosis, cultural collapse or resurgent authoritarianism in once-vibrant Western democracies and you’re likely to encounter an ancient Athenian by the name of Cleon. A villain of the late-fifth century B.C., this public irritant otherwise lost to history is getting a belated workout for one reason: He’s a lot like Trump.

He’s also a good baseline for a discussion of American demagogues, which is the subject of the freshman writing class that I teach at George Washington University.